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Any Time

How long ago the day is
when at last I look at it
with the time it has taken
to be there still in it
now in the transparent light
with the flight in the voices
the beginning in the leaves
everything I remember
and before it before me
present at the speed of light
in the distance that I am
who keep reaching out to it
seeing all the time faster
where it has never stirred from
before there is anything
the darkness thinking the light

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How Long Should The Last Laugh Take

Their challenge?

To unwind themselves,
From their own entanglements.

My challenge?

To do the best I can,
Not to smile too broadly.

The challenge we face together?

Deciding if forgiveness pays.
Since forgetting is out of the question!
And how long should the last laugh take?

Ten.
Twenty.
Or thirty years?

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Long Ago, The Land Was Green

Long ago, the land was green
Blue and shades of brown
And now, the mass of concrete slabs
Form rainbows all around

Once the air was lonely
Except the majestic birds
Now, screams of airplanes fill the air
And cities are filled with words

Rivers of old, were crowded with fish
Too many for us to eat
Now, we fish in quiet rest
For cans and other treats

Bless the ones who gave us this
Inhaling smoke for breath
Bless the ones who gave us comfort
Although the cost is death

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Emily Dickinson

Under the Light, yet under

949

Under the Light, yet under,
Under the Grass and the Dirt,
Under the Beetle's Cellar
Under the Clover's Root,

Further than Arm could stretch
Were it Giant long,
Further than Sunshine could
Were the Day Year long,

Over the Light, yet over,
Over the Arc of the Bird—
Over the Comet's chimney—
Over the Cubit's Head,

Further than Guess can gallop
Further than Riddle ride—
Oh for a Disc to the Distance
Between Ourselves and the Dead!

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Rembrandt's Darkness, Rembrandt's Light

Here’s a painting by Rembrandt van Rijn –
mark how he bestows the light

the light of Rembrandt’s conscious painted scenes
falls where consciousness itself shines strongest:

here on a thinking head, deep
in contemplation of the truth invisible;

here on a melting heart; there,
on a pregnant belly full of life;

on this marriage bed, her body
dissolves into the light of love;

here, the golden helmet and the breastplate
say, heroism has descended on mere man.

But mark, too, that other miracle:
see in this corner, the area of black paint:

this is not darkness; not negation of the light;
this is what cannot comprehend the light;

this is the darkness of the unmanifest,
from which all miracles shall in time arise:

this is the black paint stroked on the canvas
by the same dazzling intelligence
which was Rembrandt; the light
yet stored in darkness; what would that light
of things seen, be, without the mind
that understood and marked the not yet lit?

The secret of that darkness fills
with a brightness that's more beautiful than beauty,
the mind that knows to shut its mortal eyes.

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Verses For Alfeo Faggi's Stations Of The Cross

I
HERE Pilate's Court is:
None may clatter nor call
Where the Wolf giving suck
To the Twins glares on all
'Strip Him and scourge Him
Till flesh shows the blood,
And afterwards nail Him
On cross of wood.'
O Lord
Silence in us the condemning word!

II
Heaven witnesseth, but only in the heart
Is any aid:
'They know not what they do,' and then on Him
The Cross is laid
The Cross that's wide and long enough to bear
His flesh and bone:
A spectacle unto the crowded way,
The Man goes on.
The Father's will
May we know also, and may we fulfil!

III
Beneath the load
The knees quail;
The heart pants,
The joints fail;
Almost the bones break;
He faints, his breath being loss;
He sinks beneath the Cross!
May we
Be mindful of this road to Calvary!

IV
Jesus His Mother meets:
She looks on Him and sees
The Saviour in Her Son:
The Angel's word comes back:
Within her heart she says,
'Unto me let this be done!'
Still is she full of grace.
By us, too, be it won
The grace that brings us revelation!

V
'If He should die upon the road
That were a turn of ill:
'Tis fixed the Crucifixion be
Upon that skull-shaped hill.
Ho, man who looks with pity on
The Man we take to death
Bear you the Cross I order it
Until He wins back breath.'
We take
Our hearts being moved, the Cross up for Thy sake!

VI
Down to her face His face He bends:
The helper she, the heartner:
His image in her cloth He leaves;
He leaves it, too, to all like her
Who serve within a little room,
But run to help outside the door,
Who mend and brighten needed things:
He leaves it to good hearts, the Poor!
May we, too, wait,
Like her, and help, and be compassionate!

VII
The Spirit is willing aye,
But weak the flesh put on;
Deadly the Cross's weight;
He stumbles on a stone,
And lies upon the road,
Seeing His Body's blood.
May we
Forget not in these times that agony!

VIII
Heavy the Cross is:
He drags beneath its beam,
Yet, Women of Jerusalem,
Weep not for Him:
Weep for your children, rather,
For that they cannot see
The true Son of David,
The Saviour, shown ye.
O Lord,
Also to us say the revealing word!

IX
The skull-shaped hill is near:
The earth and heaven are bare
Of light, and sight, and sound;
He falls upon the ground,
Knowing that journey's end
Without one to befriend.
O Lord
Bring us to Life according to Thy word!

X
'Wouldst have me share this cloth,
Dividing it with sword?
Nay, fellow, we will keep it whole,
But hearken to my word:
Behind the Cross the dice
We'll throw; who wins will get
What's high enough in price
To pay a tavern debt.'
The vesture that makes one with Thee our soul,
May we keep whole!

XI
'This thong, I know, will last;
Draw out the arm and make it fast;
Through hand and board with strength
Drive the nail of mickle length.
Now, King of the Jews, in the sun,
Gape, for our work is done.'
God send
That our labours have no evil end!

XII
The birds are flying home,
Now darkened is the sky,
And He hath given up
With that great bitter cry
The ghost, and on the Cross
(His Mother stays by it),
The title rightly His,
KING is writ.
May we draw near
Considering in our hearts what Man is here!

XIII
Though pitiful it is to see
The wounds, the broken Body,
(The Body of Him that was
As fair as lily of the grass!)
Though the brow with thorns is riven,
And a spear through the side is driven,
It was all for our healing done,
Mother, by thy Son!
May we
This Body in its glory come to see!

XIV
Now in the tomb is laid
Who had neither house nor hall,
Who in the wide world walked,
And talked with one and all;
Who told the sparrow's worth,
The lily's praises said,
Who kept wakeful in the garden
Now in the tomb is laid.
His Spirit still doth move
On a new way of love!

L'ENVOI
Prince, by thine own darkened hour,
Live within me, heart and brain;
Let my hands not slip the rein!
Ah, how long ago the hour
Since a comrade rode with me:
Now, a moment, let me see
Thyself, lonely in the dark,
Perfect, without wound nor mark!

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Sonnet- The Mystery Of God And Creation

What mystery shrouds the creation of God?
How mysterious is the Almighty One?
Did man evolve or was he made by Lord?
How can man call as God the Moon or Sun?


What harmony pervades the Universe?
What destiny awaits man on this earth?
Are sufferings, the Almighty One's curse?
Why God has made men of unequal girth?

How long ago, the Universe exists?
Why did God make one earth and many stars?
Despite their weakness, how men show their fists?
When Nature destroys, so does man- made wars.

And yet, God proves His love for human race;
And when man sins, God shows His angry face!

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How Long

climb on top of all you despise
it's a better view from the lies
two steps behind before I've begun
time stops to tell me all I could have done
and I'll say
how long till the word will be completed
how many times will history repeat it
how long will it take
how long
how long
I want to go
will you show me the way
I'd rather be wrong than be deceived
to thinking that I believe
that I can stand to be here on my own
there's too many questions that we won't ask
in hopes that this too will pass
but how far down do we have to go before we know it
how long till the word will be completed
how many times will history repeat it
how long will it take
how long
how long
I want to go
will you show me the way
how long
how long
how long will it take
how long
how long
how long
I want to go
will you show me the way
how long
how long
how long will it take
how long till the word will be completed
how many times will history repeat it
how long till the words fall to the pages
how many times till all we can say is save us

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How Long

When you look into a childs face
And youre seeing the human race
And the endless possibilities there
Where so much can come true
And you think of the beautiful things
A child can do
How long -- would the child survive
How long -- if it was up to you
When you think about the money spent
On defense by a government
And the weapons of destruction weve built
Were so sure that we need
And you think of the millions and millions
That money could feed
How long -- can you hear someone crying
How long -- can you hear someone dying
Before you ask yourself why?
And how long will we hear people speaking
About missiles for peace
And just let it go by
How long will they tell us these weapons
Are keeping us free
Thats a lie
If you saw it from a satellite
With its green and its blue and white
The beauty of the curve of the earth
And its oceans below
You might think it was paradise
If you didnt know
You might think that its turning
But its turning so slow
How long -- can you hear someone crying
How long -- can you hear someone dying
Before you ask yourself why?
And how long will it be till weve turned
To the tasks and the skills
That well have to have learned
If were going to find our place in the future
And have something to offer
Where this planets concerned
How long?

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Everything Seems So Long Ago

EVERYTHING SEEMS SO LONG AGO

Everything seems so long ago
One day I too ‘will seem so long ago
The night is the night for everyone
The darkness
and the ground.

Why I am in the world
And what I mean
Only God knows.

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My Only Thoughts

How long ago did you hold me last
The memories of what has been
How have we let time go so fast
I hope it slows before the end
Those times I miss, your soft embrace
Those beautiful eyes
Your lips taste
But now you wear your disguise
Trying to fool the world
The fake face is your demise
The truth will be unfurled
So why do you hide
My love frozen in time
Why do I feel this thorn in my side
With empty words I made to rhyme
I cannot fill the hole where your heart once was
For nothing can be so whole
Yet I try and nothing does
So time once again takes its toll
Will you hear me Scream?
Will you hear my cry?
Will we once again be a team?
Or will you leave me here to die?
Answer I search for but never find
My shattered soul
My broken mind

Thoughts will no longer fill my head
The pain of lose to much to bear
The pain of things you could have said
Now I seem the worse for wear
And though I know I'm a fool
A court jester
The kings tool
I say this now
and say it again
for I could never say it too much
I love you now
I loved you then
and my love will stay as such

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It Wasnt Very Long Ago

It wasnt very long ago.
I met you,i saw you.
It wasnt very long ago.
You whispered I love you
Look at us now.
Crying our hearts out through the night.
Trying to remember what love was like, although...
It wasnt very long ago.
I thrilled when I kissed you.
It wasnt very long ago.
I cried when I missed you
Look at us now.
Crying at hearts out through the night.
Trying to remember what love was like
Although it wasnt very long ago.
Look look my eyes arent shining with love
And they wont.
Look Im not crying cause I need you,
Im crying cause I dont, oh
It wasnt very long ago.
I held you, so closely.
It wasnt very long ago.
I dreamed of,you mostly
Look us now.
Crying at hearts out through the night.
Trying to remember what love was like.
Although it wasnt very long ago.
It wasnt very long ago.
It wasnt very long ago.
Not so very long ago..

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How Happy The Light Of This Green Day

HOW HAPPY THE LIGHT OF THIS GREEN DAY

How happy the light of this green day
All the while forgetting
The fear of what might be
The uncertainty of what is
The pain of what has been-

A great happiness
A great happiness
Thank God
Home here now
Still-
Thank God for so much goodness
In my life
Thank God.

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Patrick White

Not Even The Light

Not even the light of the stars
shining like the keys to the ancient love-letters
bound among the secret jewels
of the queen of heaven
penetrates me as deeply as you do.

The planet wheels into the night
bearing its burden of humans
murdering each other
to enforce one state of ignorance
upon another
as the rabid bees
strafe the demented flowers
on the far side of the world
for enriching their radioactive pollen,
convinced in their madness
more honey than blood will flow from the wound.

I walk by myself
along the brittle banks of a frozen stream
among the detonations of the cattails
waiting like Napoleonic cannoneers
to stoke the charge of the next volley.

The snow in the sunset
is stained a spectral apricot
that disappears like breath on a cold window
and the sky is vast with my insignificance.
Two or three decades of life left,
if I'm lucky,
and though I have tried to use my time
to leave a gift for someone I will never meet,
long ago I realized
there is no way of assessing
what they will find
after the coffin closes like an eyelid
on this long, dark, radiant brevity
that once shone like the moon
in the ores of my blood.

Like the wandering of this rivulet
my heart has always been
a pilgrim without a shrine
and the direction of prayer has encompassed all
like a man getting up off his knees
and walking through an open door
to drink from the cup of his lover
in the shadows of the autumn willow
that sways like kite-tails
from the flights of fire
she ignites among the stars
that gather in the dark like strangers
before their own ghosts.

What the wind
has torn away from me like apple-bloom,
like poems, like smoke and leaf, like skies,
like tears and blood and faith
it has replaced
with these deeper revelations of you
that hang like a windfall of scarlet bells
from the branch of a dead tree in winter.

The wine of your life and light
has matured in the ferocious crucibles of the sun
and you have been poured out
like the passion of a sword
to cleave the stone of my heart
with these truant rivers of wounded silver
that flow through me like blood.

A young breeze
tries to hone the edge of its blade
on the rising moon
as a black ribbon of water
runs like a snake of oil
between the enclosing jaws
and cataracts of ice,
tiny wavelets scaling its skin
scintillant with the small commotions of stars overhead.
The bush wolves
have been nosing for muskrat
and you can almost taste the steam
rising from hot meat on the air.

I squeak like a pulley through the virgin snow,
following the banks of my own meandering,
owing nothing of myself to anyone,
wholly my own solitude,
as I pass through the gates
of the enclosing darkness
trying to enter the abyss and the mystery
of what I have lived so precariously
over the last sixty-three years,
what it means, if anything,
to be a human among these paper birches
on an island in the stream,
looking up at the intimate unattainability
of the stars,
knowing you are growing old,
that death is more populous with friends
than life, that love
has sloughed you so many times
like a viper's skin,
like the phases of the moon,
like a shrine of smoke and ashes,
that the phoenix hesitates
to robe itself in the full glory
of its former plumes of fire.

My mother will die soon.
I must say it,
voice it in my blood
to be able to bear it
and my children are clouds in the world
that no longer look for their reflections
in the eyes of the lake they arose from
as if they were merely breathed out.

And how in any god's name
can a man define the absence
he has grown to be,
except he standardize his own spinal cord
as the only measure of loss
he has to go by?
And even after
all the millennia of my walking,
standing up,
I'm still only six feet closer to the stars
though my mind can embody all of space
in a solitary thought.

And the deep, inner silence
in the empty throne-room of my heart
where even the most profound events of my life
are seen to be ultimately no more
than the antics of a jester
playing with shadows,
turns out after all to be
just another mode of weeping.

It takes a lifetime
for a dropp of water
to gather the courage to fall
from the tip of a blade of stargrass,
and the tongue has tears
the eyes know nothing of.
I admire the cool crimson
on the brushes of the ground willow
as they try to catch my likeness
on the ice-primed canvas of the snow,
but suggest
to portray me as I lived
they need to be loaded with blood not paint.

Like the moon
I have worn the same blossom
as a face
for years now
and I still don't know the fruit
that ripens beneath it;
whether my life has sweetened
in orchards of light,
or black dwarf of the forbidden apple
on a dead tree,
I taste like a full eclipse.

And what could it change even if I did know?
When the diaspora of my starseed
breaks bread
at a harvest of thorns;
who is the host
and who is the guest
and who asks for a menu?

And no matter how far from home
the journey takes him,
whether down a dead-end alley
or further than the stars
was there ever a man
who didn't walk to his own funeral
like a bell
looking for any beginning
that might not be lost in the end?
Or does the snake
that takes its tail in its mouth
as a gesture of eternity
eventually end up swallowing
its own head
like this stream before me
making its way to the sea?

I stepped across a star sill
through a vertical door into life
and in the leaving of it
I shall knock from the inside
on a door that's horizontal
to continue my descent toward earth
down a ladder of thresholds;
and what began so earnestly
among family and friends and lovers
will be concluded by a stranger
who will wear my name like a gravestone.

But here among the tangle
of these fallen trees, their roots
fleshed out
and washed like a corpse
by the water and the snow,
Venus peers through the fingers
of the branches above
where two crows have paired
like quotation marks
around the hearsay of the night
though I am left speechless
by the random beauty of the scene,
as if my voice had been released like a bird
into its own most intimate, inward vision
and that vision were everywhere you like the sky
it disappears into like I do
everytime my heart is opened
like one of the lockets of time
and I stare into your eyes
and the universe stares back
as you breathe out the night with all of its stars
and then I breathe you in
just as a golden feather of the moon
lands without a ripple
or unravelling wake
on the mirror of these lonely, black waters
I have followed deep into the darkness
like the urgent secret of my own lifestream,
and I know it's you. I know it's you.

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Patrick White

Flowers Are The Clocks Of The Light

Flowers are the clocks of the light.
Spring grey. Clouds. Half smoke, half crocus.
The rivulets are carrying last November's leaves away
like long lines of ants bearing the gnostic gospels
of the snow thawing into a spiritual life of water
back to the shrine of their colony
to be chewed over by the divines
masticating the mystery into something
like an edible orthodoxy of mystic impiety.

My heart is a bruised apple with purple blood today.
Neither passionate, nor aloof, clinging
nor unwilling to let go if that's what I must do.
One foot on shore. One in a lifeboat.
O what funny bridges we make as if
we were trying to balance the axis
of heaven and earth upon our nose
like the calves of giraffes learning to walk on stilts.
But there you go. What are you going to do?
That's the way it seems.
You've got to look up and stick your neck out
if you want to graze on the stars.
Same way with dreams. You've got to
risk waking up if you don't want to lose them.

I've wandered off from the carnage
of my doomed holy war of one with my heart
into a peaceful valley where I can sit
on a glacial skull of prophetic rock
and sheathe my sword in the wound I drew it from
like fire from the ore of a crippled dragon
that walked with a limp out of the war
weary of winning these honourable surrenders
like Jacob wrestling with the angel in the way.

Soft here. Easy on the eyes. A gentle touch.
The air on the verge of tears and the trees
about to see who's a skeleton and who's a survivor.
Who made it through the winter, and who
dreamed they died in their sleep and did,
and who, the ghost amputee of the limbs they lost.
I have a mindful heart and a warrior's compassion
for lost lovers, friends, suicides, martyrs, heretics,
neglected gods, defrocked saints, those
who fell half crazy on the broken panes
of their own clarity, committing hara kiri
on the splintered plinths of their own love-crossed stars.
One-eyed artists riding a pair of red bicycle glasses
in a high-wire act without safety nets
like a dropp of dew on a spider's thread
trying to lay the first cable of a suspension bridge
they hope will follow them across the impassable abyss,
offering themselves up like uncertain sacrifices to oblivion.
Big-hearted poets who scattered their works
like the apple bloom of hidden orchards
as their eyes waxed wide-eyed
as a harvest moon into late October
and wound up being gouged by slumlords
in squalid apartment rooms
with an atlas of cracks in the windows,
dunking the hard crust of the bitter life
they were given back in return
for breaking the bread of their souls with strangers
even as they bled to death like a goldrush
and all that was eventually left were the nuggets
of the hearts of coal they dunk in their tears
to make them more palatable
when the Hesperides burn out
the last of their radiant diamonds
and all that's left of their sidereal lyric
is written in the braille of black holes
that comes up snake-eyes on the dice
they've carved from their starless skulls.
And painters whose visions fell from the sky
like rain on the eyelids of dirty windows,
like stars who were washed out
like nocturnal watercolours they painted in tears
like hot cinders from the unradiant world's
way of seeing things with its eyes closed.
Those whose flame burned
like the hydrogen blue of a wild iris
and then disappeared into the perfected heat
of their spiritual immolations, and those,
who scattered their ashes like morning doves on the wind
as if they were breaking their bodies
like loaves and fishes among the flowers
thronging up the hillside like the jester-caps
of the wine-stained trillium
getting drunk with nuns in white.

Just want to let my starmud settle in a puddle.
Look at a few clouds for awhile, the crowns of the trees,
notice the deepening red of the upper branches of the birch
reaching out like thermometers for the sun
and how they look so much like ground willows
raised up high on a marble obelisks and altars
like a blood offering to the sky.
I'm at rest for a moment like the nadir of a bell
in its arc of sadness and bliss, life and death,
one breath and the next, neither heads nor tails
of the copper penny of the moon on the horizon.
And from here I can see the Elysian Fields of the Blessed
littered with the corpses and bones
of my companions and fellow aspirants
the spirit knows as its own.
And I mourn the loss of so many heroic children,
so many glorious losers, determined clowns,
all the lost pages of the books of crazy wisdom
that died like the rainbow bodies
of sages and gardens in their own arms
like the new moon in the embrace of the old.

These are my war dead. These
are the crosses and poppies of blood I kneel before.
These are the ones for whom my tears,
my sorrow, my blessing, my heart is shaped
like a dropp of dew at the tip of a blade of stargrass,
ready to fall at the slightest quaking of an insight
into the intimate beauty and cosmic cost of their sacrifice
not for what they believed, but in what
they tried to make come true without knowing
what it was until it appeared before them
like a child with a piece of bread in her hand,
pointing with the other to the birthstar she comes from.

These were wishing wells of clean water in a dry land.
These were people whose skulls were lunar grails
they offered up to the ailing kingdom
and said, here, drink until I'm empty.
These were people of plenty who walked
in rags and scars, poverty, exile and despair
only to be crucified at the stake like scarecrows
in the starfields of their expansive hearts
come to harvest in the hand of Virgo
like the autumnal equinox of a generous soul.

Sitting pensively here before the gates
of the realms they've entered, it's for these,
I wrap my blood like a robe of silence,
like the gentle mantle of this approaching spring
over their shoulders to keep their memory
alive, warm, hauntingly near and eternally human.
These, for whom my heart grows mute
as this long loveletter I've been writing all my life
knowing by the time it finishes me
all those I would have sent it to will be gone,
gone, gone, gone, altogether gone beyond.
But like any war memorial without a heart of stone,
I am a happy and a sad thing simultaneously
to celebrate the indefensibly human divinity
of these who sprang up like poppies in the grass
and spread their spirit like wildfire
in a rage of renewal that proclaimed
the spiritual innocence of our births and deaths,
evangels standing at the sacred forks of rivers
with nothing to say about salvation in passing
but keep on flowing your own way
flawlessly to the sea that receives and seats
everyone below the salt in the lowest place of all
before it raises them up again to fall
like snow on the blue hills
of a deciduously spiritual mindscape.
These who didn't labour in iron chains
but beaded the light and the water into
a necklace of eyes on the loom of a spiderweb.
As if a jeweller had shown us how
to make dreamcatchers out of our tears.

No. Stone will not do to mark the passing
and return of the water birds to the zeniths and nadirs
of these northern lakes I'm peacefully marooned among
like the shattered pieces of two way mirrors
that put an abrupt end to the conscious interrogation
of their own shadows, reflections, echoes and ghosts
like a spiritual form of espionage
as enlightenment slowly dawned upon them like a firefly
that revealed they already had the answers
to their deepest questions
even before they knew what to ask.
Even before it's wholly dark out, the nightwatchman
is lighting up the sky with stars.

Yes. It must be nothing less than life itself
that honours these whose spirits leaped up playfully
like a gust of stars to blow on the flames.
Their names must be written on the wind
with the occasional ink blot of a crow to keep things
spontaneously unavoidable, as fallibly unpredictable
as they lived their lives on the wing
feathered by the fires of life.

So I live my lives, I die my deaths,
I suffer my wounds and my joys,
my eurekas, hallelujahs, my wonders
my masha Allahs, my oi veys, my inspirations,
the barnyard airfields of my mediocrity
with the wingspan of a kite afraid of heights
hanging on for dear life to something grounded
like an ostrich with its head stuck in the stars.
I rise from the ashes in the urns of my burnt-out genius
like a phoenix with the endless afterlives
of a recurring comet wondering
what it's the sign of this time, what message
does it carry like a loveletter or a warning
not meant to take itself too seriously, and to whom
is it addressed if not as a tribute to these
who have adorned and deepened the darkness
and intensified the light by colouring outside the lines
of the taboos of their homeless madness
standing on the thresholds of their beings in transit
like the unacknowledged orphans of what they're becoming?

I observe the branches of the birch,
I taste the ancient breeding of the light
in the plush syrups of the bleeding maples.
I listen for the night bird in the green room
getting ready to sing its heart out
at its debut appearance in the spotlight of the moon.
I watch the sapling aspens shaking nervously
as they recite their new leaves to the wind
at their very first poetry reading
and in a startled rush of heron's wings
I can hear the one-handed applause of the ghosts
of the more seasoned trees of an old growth forest
that once stood here in the midst of life
as lyrical once, as vulnerable once, as these.

I can see death's door ajar ahead of me.
I come to it out of the dark
like a befuddled bat to a porchlight.
How many lives before have I sat here
transcendentally defeated by the better part of me
and watched the stars slowly emerge like eyes
out of the peacock green silk of the sky
like the ghosts of ancient mulberry blossoms
unfolding their poems like the sails of paper boats,
messenger butterflies with secret love notes
written like starmaps to their otherworldliness
in the indecipherable mother-tongue of all holy books.

Antares, Arcturus, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse,
among all these big ripe red stars,
I'm characteristically human enough
to have realized a long time ago,
even before the volcanoes did,
compared to their radiant enormities,
my life's just another blood stain
among many on the darkness
that can't explain themselves
or account for where they've been,
what they've seen, or counter-intuitively why.
Or who spilled the wine on the sun.

And I'm more than well aware
of the concentrated intensity
of the needle-eyed focus
I've been trying to thread my life through
like this night creek flowing before me
like an oilspill on the moon,
like a sacred syllable smuggled
through the lapis lazuli bull-gates
and up the emergency backstairs
of the polyglot towers of PsychoBabylon
where the faithful are called to prayer in tongues.
In the beginning was the Word.
And it was a nightbird singing in the dark.
It was an image of everything that can't be said,
Imagination trying to render the likeness
of an imageless space, the features of a face
that lets you see the stars in her eyes
as the mutable signs of her ineffability
shining through the dark matter of a veil,
even as you're mixing
complementary colours on your palette
like a stained-glass soul to give your life
to what you cannot see. Even in
this morgue of dead gods, this eyeless reality
arrayed in all its creative potential before us,
the dark abundance of the plenum-void,
or however you want to picture or not,
what else could it be, given we're all born
out of our own image of love
with the playful hearts and minds of artists
with the aesthetic tastes
and spiritual genius of children
transfixed by starfish in the morning
well within reach of their shining.
All artists are lunar orphans
that have been left on the stairs
of the last shrine of idolatry
before reality leaves them speechless and deaf.

And how many times have I come here
just to watch my mind painting
in the light and time
of this mystically specific life
my thoughts, emotions, intuitions,
my clarities, the occultations of my fireflies
trying to get a fire started
out of the dry kindling of lightning
I've piled up like a pyre
for my imminent sky burial
like waterbirds lifting off the lake
in a shower of eyes and insights scattered
like seeds and broken rosaries from their wings
to turn into all other things like spring
returning to its myth of origins.
Or a singer alone on the road, homesick
for the silence he broke into with his song
like the pebble of the moon
thrown into the quiescent pond of the world.
Like the call of Canada geese high overhead at night
returning empty from the land of the dead
having delivered their charges successfully
without looking back retroactively upon the past
to see if they were still being followed or not.

But then, again, who isn't walking
in the footsteps of ghosts who went on ahead of them
on some forsaken shore somewhere?
And I've been mistaken often enough to admit it,
I've sat here on my stony throne sometimes
in this abdicated kingdom,
in the middle of this boneyard
of courtly fossils in the darkness
of the La Brea Tarpit in a black out of stars
at the end of my own tunnel vision
when I looked at things in a dark mood
through the third eye of my orbiting telescope
and all I could see was endless space
with a widow's ashes smeared on its face,
not the chromatically abberated rainbows of rosier lenses
with more of a two-eyed outlook on things
that swim into their ken like cults
of shepherd moons that outnumber
the schools of fish than I've ever seen on Neptune.

Just the salt flats of a future that's not much good
at growing flowers and stars,
but has a knack for keeping things from going bad.
And I whispered suggestively into my left ear
that's not a reason green enough to go on living.
There's no food for thought in the ashes
of the Alexandrian Library of the dead.
There's no harvest, there's no end of the world
stored like grain in the empty urns
and back amphorae of the new moon
bobbing like cormorants on the mast
of a shipwreck Atlantean fathoms below the waterline.
And remembering a dead poet friend of mine,
thought old age is the year of the locusts,
though he didn't live it that way
well into his nineties and beyond.
And finding nothing up ahead to give it forward to
gave my future up to living it for people like him
as if it were no less theirs than mine,
only to realize as I progressed backwards in time
the return journey through the zodiac
I've made of the stations of my life
is so much more spiritually vital than the first
that wasn't quite as down to earth
as this one where solid things seem
like mere shadows of the picture-music
streaming like the Road of Ghosts through
a sad nightmare we're all glued to
like constellations of black dwarfs to flypaper
compared with these translucent masterpieces
inspired by the song of a hidden nightbird
empowered by the singular longing
of the candle it keeps lighting up and blowing out,
like the eternal flame of the synteretic spark
looking for enlightenment
with a white cane in the dark.

So. Yes. For me, for them, for people
it will be ten thousand lifetimes
before we embrace again at zenith
when the sun shines at midnight,
and the wide-eyed lunatics
follow the moon like a cult to the dark side
to see what she's been hiding from them
like a black pearl in her other hand.
So, yes, yes, even now that my tears fall
way more often than they ought
or I should even remotely like,
I give my assent to them all like spring rain
on the withered stars and rusty spearheads
of the brown New England asters.
I live it like a living memorial
to future generations yet to come
of what it was like to be human
in a makeshift Eden of desiccated tree limbs
where sacred water snakes
once sang in their green boughs like birds.
I live it for them like the spontaneous flightplan
of an heretical root fire
spreading like a phoenix
through the valley of death
in a frontal assault of fireflies
going off like fireworks in all directions at once
as if the easiest way
to storm the walls in the way of anywhere
and enter by the right gate, is to live
the way these did each in their own good time,
no matter the ferocity of the species-killing meteors
that were hurled against them like the Perseids.
Or the eviction notices they couldn't ignore
that were slipped like razorblades
across their thresholds of pain
to vacate the premises of their biospheres
by such and such a moment on a Mayan calendar.
And in spite of all that, in the face of the fate
that befell them like wild apples
in a windfall of last year's trees,
live it even now at this late date through me
like a legacy of surrealistically enlightened madness
that can always find something to celebrate
about walking around on the earth for their sake
cherishing my insignificance in an unworthy world
just to see in whatever I turn my eyes to
what a jewel of awareness that truly is.

I see the uprooted tree where lighting
decapitated the head of the Medusa.
I see the crocus in its cap
more like two hands folded in prayer
trying to keep warm over a small golden fire
than I do the pope of flowers.
I smell the fragrance of decay
in the damp, green moss of a funeral home
clinging to the cliches of its emotional condolences
like wigs on a skull waiting for a hair transplant
of red columbine with its blonde roots showing through
like the sun peeping through the eyelid of a crimson dusk.
I break off a blood-stained horn of sumac
and savour it like the taste
of a lemon-flavoured couch
I spit out of my mouth like high-protein lint
at the bottom of an empty pocket
that knows how to survive in the woods
without having to live for itself.

My hand caresses the water
like the wing of a loon on a moonlit lake
that isn't waiting for its return.
I pity a dead squirrel with eye-sockets
that have been gouged out like white meat
from the shells of black walnuts
and I can feel compassion whelming up
in the eyes of the dead who can see this through me
like a death mask I place on their faces
eyebrow to eyebrow with this vision of life
I'm living like a lifeboat in the aftermath of theirs.

Compass needles like infinite directions of prayer
among the abandoned pagodas of the pine-cones
waiting for fire to awake the sacred seed syllables
they've hidden under their eyelids
to raise them up to renew the world again
like evergreens in a towering wilderness,
like morning doves hidden under the eaves
of their crumbling temples,
or a nightbird such as me
with a star in its beak
like a lost earring of the moon
it's retrieved like a holy word
from the mindstream
its shining was once returned to
like a silver tribute to the river.

Venus and Jupiter going down in the west.
Saturn and Mars rising late in the east.
Love, power, pensive sorrow and war,
the lifelines of the least of us
flowing like dynasties of blood and tears
down the world mountain,
out of the melting hills
into the new seabeds of these
who were magnanimously blessed by the moon
realizing as they approach the deltas of the dead
they're finally at peace with themselves
like a poet sitting on the banks
of a woodland stream in the early spring
sleepwalking through everyone else's dreams
not as someone who made a vow over a deathbed,
not as mere words mouthed breathlessly
like ghosts dissipating into the chilly dead air,
but the heart of a nightbird returning
to the lyrics of an ancient repertoire
it can't help but remember and sing
like an overture of picture-music
as a prelude to the pagan advent
of the ancestral recurrence of a prophetic spring.

Stars like nocturnal waterlilies soon
crowding the banks of the Milky Way.
A moonrise of lustrous bubbles in Pisces
like fish swimming in the reflected treetops,
singing along with the boundless birds
that nest like a choir of homeless voices
returning like the dead in vital bliss to their roots
like a fire sign to the living
from these who were interred like ashes
in the urns of a phoenix
born with the wingspan
of an autumn sumac that went down in flames
like the names of the noblest of these
who were moved like Luna moths and Icarian comets
to risk flying too close to the sun,
to burn the flightfeathers of their imaginations
like love letters expiring in the heretical fires
on a pyre of broken wands and empty pens
of what inspired them the most to write
in the indelible inks of the human spirit
read like a secret message of invisible desires
over the a fire in a script of cursive smoke
like spring returning like words and birds
to the lyrical mouths of lonely, holy ghosts
trying to put an earthly picture-music
like flesh back on bones of the flutes
of their ineffable spiritual longing
to sing for the unattainable like the high note
of an inconceivably sustainable table of contents.

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The Other Day....long Ago

I saw you the other
day, long ago…,
wrapped in the
plushest of
white robes.

You looked out
on to the ocean.

Sitting,
your one hand
clutched the
other's wrist,
as they wrapped
around your
knees.
Both, of which
were tucked,
in fetal position,
up against
your firm
victorious breasts.
Thankfully,
they had eluded
a cancerous fate.

The steely blue,
grey-specked eyes
that had adorned
me long ago
with lust,
now seemed
to absorb the
darkening skies
for which they
mirrored.

All light was gone.
As were you,
my long ago
and
not-so- forgotten
tenderness.

Even with him,
you were without.

Empty. Hollow.
And sadly,
gray.

But content
and secure
none-the-less

I remembered
you the other
day,
long ago.

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Witchcraft: At The Light Of Day

At the light of day I know that we are separated
and for years I am bewitched,
now that you stay with another man,

maybe lifelong something remains
and when I am alone, it’s your image that sneaks into my dreams
and for years I am bewitched

and sometimes when the night sneaks up on me
I know that nobody can stay alone forever
and when I am alone it’s your image that sneaks into my dreams

but time runs on with years passing
and I decide to expel this witchcraft
I know that nobody can stay alone forever

and I exorcise your whole soul, face and body
from how it had been once
and I decide to expel this witchcraft,

to burn everything of yours to dust and ash.
At the light of day I know that we are separated
from how it had been once
now that you stay with another man.

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The Light

You make it sound easy
You say just hold your hand out dont you
You just hold your hand out dont you
That hope never leaves you
cos a light shines on that helps you to steer
Makes everything clear
(well it might)
Well it might in your world
(but it doesnt)
But it doesnt in mine
(Ive been stumbling)
Ive been stumbling in the dark for years
And the light just made me blind
You say it lights every pathway
Shows me how to live life
For the rest of my days
For the rest of my days
(but I cant)
But I cant put my faith in
(your words)
Your words and demands
(I believe)
I believe in God alright
Its folk like you I just cant stand
You dont have to try and scare me
To reinforce my faith sir
cos I know that one day
Ill stand before my maker
(and it Im found)
And if Im found wanting
(when my case)
When my case is heard
(itll be)
Itll be by the author
Not some interpreter of his words
You make it sound easy
You say just hold your hand out dont you
You just hold your hand out dont you
That hope never leaves you
cos a light shines on that helps you to steer
Makes everything clear
(well it might)
Well it might in your world
(but it doesnt)
But it doesnt in mine
(Ive been stumbling)
Ive been stumbling in the dark for years
And the light just made me blind
Yeah the light just made me blind

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The Day The Light Went Out

Released as b-side of many too many single, 1978.
When they went to bed that night no-one would have believed
That in the morning light would not be there
The dark hung heavy on the air like the grip of a jealous man
No place was there known to have been spared
Then panic took control of minds as fear hit everyone
The day the light went out of the daytime sky
Artificial light could hardly penetrate the gloom
Nothing out of reach could be observed
Looting, pillage, murder, rape became the rule of that day
Who hit him no one knew or whom he hit
Cars were caught in pileups and the planes could never land
The day the light went out of the daytime sky
Now I can rest here after my journey
Now I can feed here before I continue
Some there were whos heads were clear who sought, tried to find
The nature of this deadly foe, the dark
It seemed the sun was still somewhere though hidden from their sight
By something, though amorphous, yet alive
And so they looked for ways to rid themselves of the parasite
The day the light went out of the daytime sky
Now I can rest here after my journey
Now I can feed here before I continue
They tried in many fruitless ways to see the noonday sun
By blasting with their missiles through the dark
But soon a kind of sleepy state came over everyone
Till nothing seemed to stir or even breathe
And when the darkness chose to disappear not many had survived
Then came a shadow - another had arrived
And again the light went out the daytime sky

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Burned By The Light

When I was young so young so long ago.
Of an age, teenage, and less, much much less.
I used to say, to myself; repeatedly, to myself.
I am a voice crying in the wilderness.
Who am I? Who am I? ’
When I was young so young so long ago.
Of an age, teenage, and less, much much less.
I used to ask this question.
Constantly this question.
‘Words are the tools of my trade.
Who am I? What am I? ’
It was ever an unanswered question.
No one except I, myself, could ever give an answer.

It was only I who saw the lamp.
I saw the lamp.’
I saw the lamp shining in the darkness.
I saw the lamp so softly so warmly glowing.
Like mesmerized moth I danced, circling
birthright ring of fire, as I ever tread my mesmeric path,
ever onward in ill conceived, yet impulsive soul quest;
to attain purity affixing hypnotic source flame lighting
celestial stairway, to glorious clear star laid heavens.

When I was young so young, my wise grandmother,
my Grandmother Alice Craddock, the wisest woman,
and the wisest old woman; I ever knew,
called me ‘old tot’ andthe little old man’.
Later starting school, my aunt, my aunt Glenis, said I
was one of those old ones, that had walked this world before.
Somehow somewhere, deep past mind song, I knew.
Both poet and prophet know clairvoyant knowledge;
at moments of soul sparkling radiant revelation.

I know why chosen ever stand alone.
I know why and I could tell you so!
But you do not really want to know!
Christ purchase price is too much to pay,
walk away walk away while you still may,
before sharp turned impetuous revealing light,
pierces mind’s tightly sealed scales night;
and raptured mind; is ever opened remodelled landscapes,
to mystic invading impaling visions;
from elemental environs skirting God-created
universal order, contained not within opiate dream state.

That haunts closeted dull day
and endless evocative night;
during continuing duration,
defining hermitage restless life.
In 1999 I passed penicilian passionate
again a final hope filled resolution.
I no more would wax poetic write
throughout day deadened night;
blindly following muse bewitching
divining faith mesmeric light;
but my accursed verse condition
apparently leads enticing on
until collective absolution hearse.

I still abide perpetually within ablution
dreamer’s disease compulsive fevers...

Embodied tortured would swift abstain
such soulful suffering if they could.

I was young so young so long ago.
Early childhood mist memory is so enchantingly
like, an awakened forgotten dream state.
And yet even foetus infant foreknown then,
I carried full confined weight, containing
overflowing, past lived life fragmented years.
Were these, residue resonant weight, vibrating cruel years,
I once carried, in strife torn; past lived heroic life?
Or premonitions, of still more promised pain, yet to arise?

For true prophet, death
like that of struck dead cat;
is numbered from more than one.

“... and they stoned Paul and dragged
him outside the city, imaging he was dead.
However, when the disciples surrounded
him, he rose up and entered into the city.
And the next day he left with Barnabas...”
Acts 14: 19-20.

In harmonic thrice perfect form, of perfect three,
according to sphere, of numerological angelic hierarchy.
For nine is the prescribed principal figure of virtue.

Which virtuous human mind aspires
to; in compelled hopes;
of attainment; equating to completion.

Differing differential is massive or infinitesimal change,
wide is road leading off to destruction, for those
who create their own rules, or religions to suit themselves.


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Patrick White

Amazing As The Stars In The Darkness My Eyes

Amazing as the stars in the darkness, my eyes,
though I've never seen them directly, only
as a reflection I take at its word they're blue.
And when I look a little deeper, there's
no part of me that isn't eventually invisible.
Everything's like that, the seer and the seen,
so wholly absorbed in each other,
there's no sign of either of them, just the seeing,
the heart and its feeling, the mind and its thought,
the flower and the eye, crocus, turk's cap, tiger lily, lilac
all one spontaneous happening without distinction,
one infinitely collaborative creative event flashing
out of the dark resources of the plenum-void
to give it a name for the sake of rendering experience
communicable through a delirium of form.

If you've ever walked by a mirror and the mirror's disappeared,
mercury into mercury, water into water, fire into fire,
a mother into her child, an unsuccessful lover into his longing,
that's something like it. You're everything
and in that everything you're nothing, you're selfless
to the point of not even knowing what that means anymore
except it's of no significance whatsoever. There's just
this star flashing out of a night it's surrounded by,
just these dark hills where the dead buried themselves
as they did their children, as they had lived, secretly
under the leaves that covered their gravestones,
lichens, moss, growing hundreds of wild columbine
on a modest rock of ages with the sensibilities of a butterfly.

If you stand by a gate that doesn't latch by itself anymore,
and the garden's been left to its own inner resources,
because no one lives there any longer, as, perhaps, even you once did,
o in a dream, how long ago was that? And watch the moon rise,
as if the healer and the wound were remembering
an old love affair that's gone well beyond the inseparable
because there never was a time, a prelude to seeing,
they were ever apart. You'll understand passing
as a perpetually new approach to things, you'll see birth in why
the flowers fall, and death, in why they rise again.
The simultaneity of the life and death of all things.
How present you are in the midst of your longing.
How clear in the absence of everything you're missing.

I've spent much of my life preparing gardens for planting.
Shaking out roots, rocking fields. Wondering
whose house of life the bones I dig up once belonged to,
cornerstones and rafters in arrears
to the temples they once upheld to themselves.
And come nightfall, my work finished for the day,
I've paused and looked to see if I could identify
through the trees, the whole of a constellation
from a single star. As if gazing in wonder at it
in the mutual solitude and hugeness
of the unknown immmensities that surround us both,
and bind us to a weary body and a still heart
leaning on a shovel in a garden, as if the silence
could look up or down, either way, were made sacred
by the poignancy of a momentary insight
that penetrated both our hearts as if time and space
were mere bubbles of awareness in a dream.
And in a differentiated union of not-two,
I saw myself shining through the eyes of a star
as it laboured over what flowers it intended to grow.

Without a thought or a feeling I could call my own
I was a desert of stars without a mirage
to keep up appearances. I was a single point of light
with infinite distances in it, and even the word, one,
had gaps in it I learned to jump like a star.
And I saw with the certainty of water, that
when one was a wave, the other was an ocean
and separation was simply the blindfold we put on
at midnight in front of an imaginary firing squad,
as if our whole life depended upon it, to watch
the stars shoot flowers at the sun like blanks
I seeded the garden with like constellations
breaking ground through the tree tops like Vega in Lyra.
Astro-flowers. The Pleiades approaching
the larkspur like bees. Honey in a new hive.

Light years of perceptions in a garden of starmud
encompassing strangers only an insight away from home.
It's an immensely intimate universe. Go out.
Get down on your knees in the soil. Plant flowers.
And when you go in look at your hands, at the stars
shining under your fingernails as a sign
of some honest cosmic work well done.

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